The Twins' Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down Rating

Lynn: In the early days of Bookends we posted about picture books that my grandsons and I read together and loved. But now that we are with Booklist I’ve been thinking I need to sound more serious and less like a doting grandmother. Cindy and I talked about calling the boys our focus group which sounds more official or leaving them out of our post completely. In the meantime the boys started to take their role as reviewers VERY seriously! So we decided to put the boys to work and give them their own category. We are inaugurating the Twins Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down Rating. A Thumbs Up book has gotten the enthusiastic approval of two very energetic five-year-old boys and is a book they have asked to read again and again. It is guaranteed to hold a wiggly child in one place for at least ten minutes! Our two new assistants are not completely untrained let me assure you. For their kindergarten homework we have been identifying character, setting, beginning, middle and end and whether the story is real or fantasy. (Yes – kindergarten homework – thank you NCLB. We can’t just ENJOY the books the boys bring home from school, we have to analyze them.) As you can see by their photos, the boys are bringing great enthusiasm to their new responsibility. It’s obvious that true reviewer blood runs strongly in their veins.

We are leading off with a new favorite. Two Thumbs Up for Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah C. Campbell (Boyds Mills 2008).

A fierce hunter tracks its prey across the green jungle. Suddenly with a burst of speed, the predator pounces, captures and devours its hapless victim. Wolf? Tiger? No – the hunter documented with stunning close-up photographs is a snail found in many American backyards. The text of the book is simple yet fascinating and respectful of the young audience, blending perfectly with the astonishing pictures. This is an ideal book for small naturalists, wonderfully suited either for reading with an adult or for solo examination. My two grandsons loved the dramatic descriptions of the hunt as much as the loved the magnified images and scientific information. I especially appreciated the two pages of facts and additional information and the use of accurate terminology in the main text. This book scores high on the awesomely gross factor too! I join the boys in loving this terrific book. Wolfsnail was a Theodore Seuss Geisel Award Honor Book for 2008.

Cindy: I have nothing literary to add. The boys (and Lynn!) wouldn’t part with this book long enough for me to read it! They did share the twins’ photos with me, however, and now the thumbs up is my computer background scene. It makes the 5 a.m. stint waiting for coffee to brew much more fun. How can you not have a good day when you start it looking at that photo? The devil in me can’t wait to see which book earns the “Twins’ Thumbs DOWN” award. Stay tuned!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

5 Comments on "The Twins' Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down Rating"

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  1. jhubert@lrei.org' Jen Hubert says:

    This is the cutest thing I have ever seen! You should call them the littlest Ebert and Roeper!

  2. lparent@hollandpublicschools.org' Lara says:

    Enjoy your new blog!
    Thanks!

  3. hrudiger@mac.com' Hollis says:

    Ok, you guys are fired. The twinnies are now my 2 go-to guys for book recommendations!

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